The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Soulmate's Commandments #4: Thou Shalt Take Responsibility For Thy Relationship History

Years back I met a lady who was a professional therapist.  Her opinion of the male of the species was…rather low, shall we say.

“Men are pretty dumb and unpleasant,” she said.   “And I have the experience to know, because I’ve been married six times.”

I had to laugh at her.  “There was only one thing in common between all your relationships,” I said.  “You were there.”

It is very very easy to find a tribe of men or women willing to trash the opposite gender.   Frankly, I suspect that deep down these are people who don’t think much of humanity in general, but that’s another discussion for another time.  But it is better, healthier, and more adult to take responsibility for your past…including your relationships.

There are plenty of wonderful men and women in the world, and if you haven’t found one of them, it may not be “the world’s” problem.   It may be about the person in the mirror.  There are a number of things to consider:

1) Where did you learn your rules and laws of relationships and love? From actual healthy human beings with lasting relationships?  From unhappy people?  Even worse…from fiction?

2) Is there a common pattern to the unappetizing aspects of the people attracted to you?  What could this be saying about you?  For instance: some women attract large numbers of married men.  What might this suggest about their actual emotional availability?

3) If you put all your ex’s together in a room, would they have a common opinion of you?  Of the reason your relationship ended?  WHAT DO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS LOOK LIKE TO YOUR PARTNERS?

4) Let’s take this further: what would an impartial observer say about your relationships?  What would your parents say?  What would a therapist say?  If you have healthy friends with healthy relationships…what would THEY say?

5) What would you have to change about YOURSELF to begin to attract a “better” class of partner?   Healthier emotionally, more successful in their careers, more appealing physically? 

6) The ability to look at these things requires nerves of steel.  It also requires enough love of self, belief in one’s own innate preciousness that the flaws in our current presentation and actions are NOT seen as indicative of our ultimate essence.   Consider them false signals, signs of our fear, dishonesty, and internal conflicts.  Remember that we’ve been given countless (and usually conflicting) instructions during our lives.  Its not surprising that we sometimes have “system crashes” comparable to a computer slowing down or crashing with conflicting programs.  Damaged self-images result in accepting people who treat us badly.   Low standards in our own lives attract others who are comfortable with low standards.  

7) To put it bluntly, people who complain about the low quality of the people they attract are dealing with serious issues that only they can address.   Don’t mistake their little insular misery mazes for the whole of humanity.    There are wonderful men and women in the world, honest and good people with passion and drive and the capacity for giving and accepting love.  All you need to do to access that tribe…is to be one of them. 

8) Again, you must believe that the true expression of your Self is a beautiful thing, a worthy thing.  If deep down you feel soiled, damaged, worthless, whatever…you have had an unfortunately common human experience, probably in childhood. It is your responsibility to heal yourself, nurture yourself, fill yourself with love so that you overflow and can offer, without conditions, that overflow to others.  But also to be honest enough about who you are and how you have become the person you are…so that you can detect the incongruities and deceptions of others.  That you can trust your instinct about who people are, and what their values are, because you watch their actions, not what they say about their actions (that’s entirely secondary, although interesting)
9) It is not “fair” that life is like this, that there is a price for everything we want…and that that price is paid in advance.    It just “is.”  You can rage and rail against it all you want, and not change a thing.  Or…you can grow up and grasp that it is perfectly fair that people deserve someone who can understand them, support them, nurture them, love them.  They deserve others who are “on their frequency.”   Don’t you?  The trouble of course, is that getting someone on your frequency can be a blessing or a curse.  A full course meal…or just desserts.

In this Christmas season, why not give yourself the gift of love.   Go deep.  Accept responsibility.   Take control of your life, and your love.

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